Another lovely sunny morning. There were some juicy blackberries just waiting to be picked and so we collected a large jug full. (Storm doesn’t like all the seeds they contain and so I cooked them and then sieved them and left the juice to cool before adding some apple and banana and blitzing it in the blender with some natural yoghurt to make a smoothie – yummy!)
We left our mooring in Alrewas and headed for the lock where the canal joins the River Trent for about a mile. After heavy rain this section of the canal is prone to flooding and so can cause the canal to be closed. Today, however, the indicator boards showed that it was safe to proceed.
Storm walked Max across the raised towpath and enjoyed the view of the flood plain right and left and I steered the boat to Wychnor Lock where the canal leaves the river again.
The busy and noisy A38 runs alongside the canal for about two miles where the speed of the traffic is quite scary after our canal speed of up to 4 mph.
We passed Barton Turns Marina from where we first set out on this adventure on Tuesday 9 February 2010 and headed south. Today we passed heading north and past a factory with lots of nicely stacked pallets.
After another four locks we entered the suburbs of Burton on Trent where the smell of malt assaulted our nostrils before we saw any hint of the breweries there. We could have stopped and taken a tour of one of the breweries but we carried on into open countryside as far as Willington. Who told these birds to line up so neatly?
Having moored up safely we headed off on foot to enjoy the sunshine. Mercia Marina opened in 2008 and is now the largest inland marina in the country. Its existence is due to Toyota’s decision to open a factory nearby and the need for an improved transport infrastructure meant that gravel was extracted here for the building works leaving a big hole in the ground. We sat and enjoyed an ice-cream while we enjoyed this view across the marina.
Willington village supports three pubs and they have all undergone a make-over in the last five years and it suggests that the village is benefitting from the increased contribution to the local economy.
There is also a railway station here which lies very close to the canal and we will be catching a train from here on Friday to return home for a couple of weeks. Our cruising log will continue on the 26th September.